Arca Swiss F-line Metric w/ Orbix? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

After much deliberating, I've decided on an Arca Swiss F-line Metric with the telescopic rail. But I don't know about the Orbix option. Does anyone have it. Is it useful?

One more thing, I'm thinking to purchase it from Robert White in the UK. Anyone have experience with duty charges? What will duty add to a $2500 camera? Is there a legitimate way around paying duty?

-- Ted Kaufman (, January 18, 2002


I recently bought an item from Robert White for $370.00, and about a month later got a bill from UPS for import duty for $21.00. So I guess US Customs rely on the carrier to collect any import duty.

I have the Arca Swiss F-Line Compact Field, but it doesn't have the Orbix, I'm not even sure if it could be fitted on this model. I only work in landscape so don't need it.

Its more useful if you work in digital or require a ton of movements as they are easier to make with the orbix.

-- Nigel Turner (, January 18, 2002.

Ted, I have the F-Metric 6x9 with the 30 cm telescopic rail and the orbix option and I think it is an absolutely superb design. To speed set-up, I store the front and rear function carriers and standards on one of the short "monorail units." Once my tripod is in position, it takes only seconds to slide the 30 cm "extension bracket" into the Arca-Swiss B2 ballhead, and then slide the monorail with standards into place. I initially considered the collapsible option, but having worked with it for a few minutes, I much prefer the increased rigidity and precision of having the long extension bracket offering support underneath the two monorail units. The whole Arca-Swiss system is fantastically precise and flexible, and for the work I do--mostly architectural photography--much better designed and executed than the Sinar system it replaced. The orbix option, which keeps the the optical center of the lens rotating at the center of a circle perpendicular to the standard frame, certainly speeds up movements like lens tilt, but probably isn't essential for most users. I imagine that I would use it more if I did more studio work, but I like it just the same. I too purchased my system from Robert White, and each of the half a dozen transactions I have had with them has been both pleasant and efficient. They have a close relationship with Martin Vogt and the factory, and can get anything you need. The longest I've waited for anything was a few weeks for the B2 ballhead and the 4x5 conversion set. Shipping via FedEx or UPS isn't trivial, and you will sometimes pay U.S. customs duties (the imposition of duties appears to be inconsistent). When applied, duties run about 5% on all "accessories," i.e. everything that isn't the camera body itself. There is no duty on the purchase of "cameras."

-- Christopher Campbell (, January 18, 2002.


I have an Arca Swiss F-Line Micro Metric. This is the Orbix version with geared orbix tilt. The Orbix feature is a time save and offers precise front lens tilt with just a twist of a knob. No more loosening two knobs on each side of the front standard and tilting/focussing/tilting/focussing.

I would recomment it highly for the extra cost.

Jimmy O'

-- Jimmy O'Bern III (, January 18, 2002.

I also have a F-line 4x5 metric w/ micro-orbis
It's really precise, and nice to handle - the only thing lacking about it I found until now is that the orbix tilt doesn't have a scale for the amount of tilt you dial (I tend to use the scale on the axis tilt a lot with a Rodenstock calculator).
also, keep in mind that the orbix tilts only in the optical axis of the lens if no direct front rise is applied, i.e. if you need front rise and want on-axis tilt, you have to use indirect movements (but hey, this way you almost get a sinar-style asymmetric tilt axis or/and the variable tilt axis found on some of the horseman studio cameras ;).
In my experience, a small amount of refocussing needs to be done if the orbix tilt is used... I guess the true optical center of most lenses deviates a bit from where they are attached to the lensboard.

-- Stefan Dalibor (, January 20, 2002.

Thank you all for your feedback. I'm delighted to learn I will not have to pay duty on the camera. Seems, too, like Orbix is a worthwhile addition and now that I don't have to pay any import duty-- well, why not?

-- Ted Kaufman (, January 22, 2002.

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